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A Beautiful Mind is a book written by Sylvia Nasar in 2001. Throughout the book, the author talks about the life pattern of a genius mathematician in relation to the achievements. The book constitutes of a total 464 pages and was published by Simon and Schuster paper back publishers in New York. The book consists of five major parts based on different theme topics of discussion.

These parts include:

  • A beautiful Mind
  • Separate lives
  • A slow fire burning
  • The lost years
  • The most worthy

Part one of the book talks about a steady evolution starting from 1928 all the way to 1945. This covers a vast range of topics from “The Blue Field” to “The Geometry”. There are twenty main subtopics covered in this part. Part two section of the book give the account of the history from 1953 to 1957. There are just nine subtopics in the second part of the book ranging from singularity to “Death and Marriage”. The third part covers eight subtopics ranging from “The Olden Lane” to “The Mad Hatters Tears”. This part covers the period between 1957 and 1959. The fourth part of the book covers nine subtopics ranging from Monde “Citoyendu” to “A Quiet Life”. The time elapse of this part ranges between 1960 and 1990. The last part of the book constitutes only four subtopics summing up to a total of fifty topics throughout the book.

About The Author

This book of psychology was written by Sylvia. Sylvia Nasar is a female writer born on august 17th 1947 in Germany. Her family later migrated to the US in the year 1951. She graduated in 1970 from Antioch College. Sylvia pursued a Master’s degree in Economics where she graduated in 1976. She worked in a research field with Nobel Laureate Wassily. For a period of four years, she joined ColumbiaUniversity where she is working currently as Cavalier Chair in the department of Business. It is her academic qualifications and experience that give her the authority to write the book.

Subject and Scope

The book is a detailed description of the life of a mathematics genius John Nash, who was a holder of a PHD degree .The book centers on stresses that come with responsibilities and disillusionments in life. Other themes evident in the book include that of love offered as a cure for life stresses, science, and scholarly work. The book offers a vivid and dramatic description of the mathematics genius who succumbed to madness at the age of thirty following a series of distress in life. In her piece of art, the writer brings together various artistic tools to outline the mystery of the human mind. She paints the picture of a man endowed with intelligence and humor. John Nash, her character, represents some of the rare brains in the society.

John Nash falls a victim of circumstances and is depicted as a patient suffering from a psychological illness. John was born in 1928 and joined Carnegie Institute of Technology. In1945, he established himself with brilliance and determination. Although he had a reserved character, John was an academic giant who got obsessed with research in mathematics. The most prominent of his work was his involvement in the game theory that saw him awarded a Nobel Prize years after his recovery. John’s story I, as told in the art is thrilling, emotional and fueled by drama. He is married to Alicia and works hard with other academicians depicting a real life situation. Alicia and his colleagues are amazed by his new change of behavior and attributes it to his demanding work in mathematics. Later on, learning of his mental incapacity, they are all caught unaware and find it hard to accept. The patient is admitted to hospital and has to bare circumstances including induced coma.

Similarities and Differences between the Book and the Movie

The first difference between the movie and the book is based on the different version approaches. The movie only focused on what is the most compliant in regard to the story about Nash. Most of this is the ideologies which were outspoken about him in the 1990’s. The movie contains quite a lot of stories in the film form that could only come out clearly in the theater. This is, however, not the case in the book which only covers the skeleton view of the matter. A second difference between the movie and the book is based on the time it takes for an individual to go through the entire work. The movie takes only but two and half hours while the book based on the 450 pages would take much more than this period of time.

The movie fails to clarify the stress and mental illness experienced in Nash’s mind. This idea is, however, well expounded on in the book. In addition, the film only focuses on Nash’s story when he was in Pentagon. This is, however, contradicted in the book which covers up to Princeton and MIT. The movie only narrows down to the Pentagon employment of Nash. In the book, Nash did extra jobs covering consultancy in Rand Corporation California. Another difference between the book and the movie is based on the information provided about games. This leaves out basic information about the newly created game referred to as “John”. This is covered in the book based on the information about graduate school.

One major similarity realized in both the book and the movie covers the ideology about madness and genius mind. According to Nash, madness and genius might occasionally go hand in hand. Based on this ideology witnessed in the movie, the book cites out a quote “the main reason behind wild ideas is related to the very source of mathematical ideas”.

Depicting the Psychological Disorder, Relationship,, and Therapy

The writer has been able to identify a psychological problem, its signs and symptoms, treatment procedure, and a successful therapy process. The piece of work by Silvia identifies John as a patient having the psychological disorder. Although the causes of his problems are not depicted with certainty, the signs and symptoms are basically evident. John exhibits various signs of the brain illness among which are: stigma, sexual dysfunction, anger among others (page 16). As it is evident from the piece of art, some repercussions of the psychological disorder include imprisonment, isolation, dismissal from normal duties, marital problems, and self-denial among others (PG 154).

The process of administering treatment for John was not an easy one. The writer portrays a stubborn character that cannot hide instructions (page151) but, instead, has to be involuntarily compelled to yield to the doctor’s demands. John requires sensitive care during the process of healing that is offered by Alicia and his colleagues. Love is depicted as a requirement for the treatment process and a prerequisite for healing. In addition, the process is time-consuming that is demonstrated by the decades of his disappearance (pg. 14).

When the process comes to a successful end, everyone is surprised: Alicia, John’s colleagues, and the community as a whole. His return triggers many emotions and leads to his rewarding for work he had carried out years before his mental condition had betrayed him.

Success in Depicting Psychological Content

In my own opinion, the writer has been able to depict psychological content in the piece of art. The writer successfully identifies the human psychological disorder as required by the DSM-IV model of human psychological disorder. She also successfully presents the various stages of development for the disorder beginning with minor impact and advancing to middle stages and later the severe stage evidenced by total madness. Every stage is successfully demarcated by unique signs and symptoms. The artist also successfully manages to identify severe working conditions that would have probably led to the advancement of the psychological disorder.

Sylvia successfully depicts a typical today’s society that is unaware of human psychological disorders. She also depicts a successful therapy administration process which is tedious and time-consuming. According to research carried out on psychology (Brain Christine 2002), people with psychological disorders undergo various stages exhibiting unconscious behaviors. This is evident in the art as John undergoes various transformations which are interpreted by his colleagues as abnormal. During the earlier stages, Alice and his colleagues attributed his behavior to the demands of his career rather than to his mental condition.

Psychological human disorders are not easy to identify in their earlier stages (Pinel 2010). This was the case with John whom it took time to diagnose and treat the human disorder. According to the same author, the treatment requires dedication and may take time to yield results. John, as depicted in Sylvia’s art, exhibited a similar trend.


The book offers a vivid and dramatic description of the mathematics genius who succumbed to madness at the age of thirty following a series of distress in life. In her piece of art, the writer brings together various artistic tools to outline the mystery of the human mind. She paints the picture of a man endowed with intelligence and humor. John Nash, her character, represents some of the rare brains in the society.

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